The anticipation of the upcoming holiday season is almost as enjoyable as the day itself. From the baking and music to the decorating, the preparations made ahead of Christmas are their own kind of magic. One who understands this well is Teresa Bartel. As the owner of Beaver Bay’s Christmas Up North, she not only makes the most of the holiday season, but helps others do the same all year long.
Teresa and Keith Bartel bought the Beaver Bay Mini Mall in 2014, and stepped into managing what had already been a successful retail center for many years. The mini mall was first built in 1986 by Bill and Yvonne Mensing on the site of the former Pure Oil station. It’s housed a Christmas-themed shop since its beginning, when the Mensings opened Tannenbaum the Christmas Store. The Mensings later sold the mini mall to their daughter, Michelle Fenstad, who ran it until 2014 when it was purchased by Keith and Teresa Bartel. Along the way, Tannenbaum the Christmas Store became Christmas Up North, where the tradition of selling holiday-themed merchandise continued.
For Bartel, running Christmas Up North was a natural endeavor, as she already had a passion for embracing the holidays. “Christmas is my favorite time of year, and I have always gone all-out decorating my house,” she said.
At Christmas Up North, the holiday season is not only limited to December, but lives on year-round. From ornaments and collectibles to nutcrackers and snowmen, it has something for everyone. The shop’s merchandise is not limited to Christmas, as they carry decor for other holidays as well. Still, Christmas remains the main theme at the store. “Our customers really appreciate the variety of ornaments, Santas, and collectible figurines that we carry year-round,” said Bartel.
While shoppers have fun exploring everything in the store, Bartel said her fun comes from shopping the distributors’ merchandise and choosing what to carry. “I enjoy meeting with all the different companies I work with to see what’s new for next season. And then comes the tough part: what products should I carry? If it was up to me, I would have 10 of everything. But after viewing everything, reality sets in, and we pick out products based on conversations with our customers and what they are looking for.”
After picking out the merchandise, the next step is finding creative ways to display and market the products. “I am always looking for new and fun products and better ways to display them,” said Bartel. “It’s always a challenge to add more products while keeping the store from being cluttered and keeping it easy for people to move around.”
In addition to the fun of picking out merchandise and the creativity of creating displays, Bartel said her favorite thing about running Christmas Up North is interacting with like-minded customers. “My favorite thing about operating Christmas Up North is my customers,” she said. “They are so happy and upbeat when shopping, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Christmas is such a happy and magical time of year.”
For those wishing to stop by Christmas Up North before the holidays, the store is open every day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Find Christmas Up North on Facebook for more information.